October 26th, 2012

App Review: Seagate's GoFlex Satellite App plus Mobile Wireless Storage Unit


Faculty Focus App of the Week


GoFlex (Seagate)




Wireless access to data on an external drive.

Learning Curve

Surprisingly easy

Rating (5 star scale)

5 stars Finally, easy access to portable external storage, 500G worth, without cables—no power cable and no wired connection to the iPad!


Free app; drive costs $199.99

What is the biggest frustration you have with your iPad? Oops, forget that I ever asked that question! Really, I think most individuals like their iPads. However, there are just a few things we all wished that Apple would include on the iPad, like a USB port to give us access to our ‘stuff.’ Everyone has, at some time, experienced one or two things on portable devices: 1. You never have enough memory, or 2. Your data is not all in the same place! For iPad users, unless you have access to cloud storage, there really is no convenient way (outside of using iTunes on your computer) to get data into your iPad to work on because of the lack of a slot or port that will allow you to access external storage units.

Well, the latter is history with Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite. With the GoFlex powered wireless external hard drive (and its accompanying free app) you simply power up the drive, select it from the list of available wireless devices in your iPad, and you now have access to all of your data! Nothing could be more simple! The 500 G drive cost $199.99, and to me, this is well worth the price given that plug in drives can run $120.00 or more.

I have been using GoFlex for about two weeks now and it has become one of the best technologies I have purchased because it does double duty: It allows me to take my data with me to and from the office and it keep the data updated on my home machine. Yes, I know about and use cloud storage, but I really do not like having all of my ‘stuff’ out there somewhere. Additionally, there have been times when I did not have wireless access and this was very frustrating. There are numerous work arounds, like using my smart phone or a mifi unit but I always have my portable drive with me and GoFlex just made things that much easier.

Once you purchase the GoFlex drive, you’ll want to download the GoFlex Media app is available in the iTunes store or Google Play. You should also download ‘Seagate Media Sync’ from Seagate’s support link.

There are really two options for synching your data with GoFlex Satellite and both options require that the drive be connected to your computer. Seagate’s Media Sync also has an automatic feature for synching your data that is a really nice touch and is very fast even with USB 2.0 (data transfer is much faster with USB 3.0). Alternatively, you can turn on/off the automatic sync if you prefer doing it manually. The other sync option is to use ‘SyncToy’ (free) from Microsoft which I have been using for a long time now to sync data on my portable drives. Both sync operations require some initial setup but once this is completed syncing works flawlessly.

Seagate Media Sync 
Seagate Media Sync screen on a Windows PC
Seagate Media Sync 
Select media sync screen settings

I wanted to see how well GoFlex would handle streamed video content so I cued up three different videos on two iPads and an iPod touch to be streamed from GoFlex simultaneously and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no lag or picture quality deterioration! One thing to keep in mind, however; you will be limited to playing video files supported by the iPad and as a result, you may need a video converter to play non Apple supported formats. One additional feature that I really liked is the fact that Seagate allows a pass through to the Internet while being connected to my GoFlex drive—this is really huge because I do not have to disconnect GoFlex in order to access the web!

Seagate Media Sync 
The Seagate GoFlex Media app as seen on the iPad

What is there not to like about GoFlex? Not much really, but Seagate might consider using a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of the traditional platter spin drive since platter spin drives use more energy and there is always the possibility of these drives crashing. Retrieval or access time on the GoFlex was never an issue for me, however, SSDs are faster than platter spin drives and can be bumped without any concerns. It would also be nice to have some kind of battery status information about the remaining charge left on the unit. Seagate claims 5 hours of battery life but I have been able to eke out more than five hours a couple times while working on the unit before I decided to recharge it (granted, I was not tasking the unit a lot). Yes, the initial cost of GoFlex is a bit high at $199.00 but this is well worth the convenience of finally having the one thing I always wanted from my iPad—access to external storage and a device that has a decent form factor—smaller is always better! One last thing; Seagate has a few accessories for the drive which is well worth the investment, e.g. a padded case for the unit with room to hold all of the plug-ins; extra plug-ins; a bumper sleeve to slip over the GoFlex unit, etc.. Well, you now know how I use my GoFlex, what uses do you see for yourself with this unit?

Dave Yearwood is an associate professor and chair of the technology department at the University of North Dakota.

11 comments on “App Review: Seagate's GoFlex Satellite App plus Mobile Wireless Storage Unit

  1. This is the sorriest product I ever purchased. I expected to write files directly from the Ipad to the Goflex. You need another computer to do it. If you own only an Ipad, you are just out of luck!

  2. I am interested in this product, however, there are two things that I am not very comfortable with. 1) the comment by Les Draper, that you cannot write files to the drive from your ipad. 2) in the owners manual under battery, it states that "Lithium-ion (non-replaceable)" I do not like the fact that once the battery is shot, you are just out of luck

    • Dennis; that is indeed the downside of any battery operated device–the chance that you will run out of power. As noted in the review, i have had up to about 5 hours of use with no problems. I have yet to run out of juice while using GoFlex. However, if I do, then my work around is to use a portable battery to recharge any of my portable units with the backup battery which I just about always carry around with me. I use iogear mobile power station and this does multiple duty: re-charge my iPhone, iPad, or other portable device. As to Les's comment, I DO NOT have to use my computer at all to interface with GoFlex. The only time I use my computer is to update files on my computer.

    • A point of clarification may be needed here for anyone considering GoFlex as a portable wireless storage option; 1. GoFlex is a convent way to access information (wired or wirelessly) that can be transported between the office and home; that is the strong point of this technology. Anything I create or work on using my office computer can then be synched to my home computer using SyncToy. True, Cloud storage is convenient but there are several limiting factors: I am not yet willing to pay to store all of my files in the cloud; there are times I do have web access; and I am a bit uncomfortable with some private information being stored in the cloud someplace. So, I use Cloud storage for some files. 2. Files pulled from GoFlex can be worked on using the iPad but GoFlex does not yet provide a way to upload iPad content back to the drive. That is a drawback which I hope will be addressed soon by Seagate. However, if I access a file and then change something on the file (not one of those private files) when I am at a meeting, then I e-mail that file to myself and save the changes to GoFlex. Hope this helps.

  3. The 2 drawbacks highlighted above about Seagate Wireless disk are both correct and Seagate needs to seriously address it. I'd love to be recording a video from my IPAD and wirelessly stream it to the disk or when I take a photograph, it should save a copy directly to the disk. One additional drawback I've noticed is that the size of the Goflex software on your IPAD grows when you watch videos through it. I've been forced to delete and re-install it a couple of times when the size grows to about 1Gb. I initially thought it was downloading the video to it's local folders but they weren't there every time I check. What I suspect is that it spools the video in advance into a temporary folder but doesn't removed the file once the video ends. Seagate should please correct this. It costs me money, to connect back to the Internet to re-install the file each time I'm forced to delete it.

  4. I met up with Se agate last week to get a sneak peak at its brand new wireless mobile storage drive, the Go Flex Satellite. It’s a battery-powered external hard drive, though it’s not just a traditional drive — it can also stream any and all content wireless over WIFI to any i OS or Android device, or even any WI-F device with a browser. The premise is that since most mobile devices are limited in storage,/www.tutorialsforipad.net/ you can load only what you really need on your i Pad, for example, and have your entire music or photo collection (or both) loaded up on the external drive to be accessed only when you need something. To get content onto the drive, you just use one of the Go Flex connectors such as the included USB 3.0 connector (there is a Thunder Bolt connector coming this summer), and either use the company’s Media Sync software to automatically add content, or use the drive like a normal external drive and manually load on your data. More after the break.

  5. Such a informative review over here!! I'm pleased to know about the Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite App plus Mobile Wireless Storage Unit from your post. I was looking forward for collect some new info about this Mobile Wireless Storage and got it over here as well. Thanks for this nice allocation and carry on your updates for us dude………..

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  6. I give it 5/5 as well. GoFlex would handle streamed video content perfectly. Queue 3-4 different videos one on iPad and another on iPhone.

  7. I have a Ipad and when I press the home buttom when in my screen I have the App open to minimize it, it always change the network WIFI to my default wireless network when I want to stay there to open another player. Help me

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